COVID News: FDA panel uncertain about mixing and matching vaccines

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- A CDC panel will meet this week on recommendations for both the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson boosters.

If authorized, the shots could be available at the end of the week.

There's still uncertainty about mixing and matching vaccines.

In its Friday meeting, the FDA's advisory panel did not vote on the issue, citing a lack of data.

A recent study indicates there may be additional benefits from the Pfizer or Moderna boosters for Johnson and Johnson recipients.

Here are more of today's COVID-19 headlines:



Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers fully vaccinated against COVID
Nearly two-thirds of New York residents are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the latest federal statistics. About 12.7 million of New York's 20 million residents are fully vaccinated, according to data released Saturday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's the seventh-highest percentage of any state - below Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

CDC releases new guidance ahead of holiday season

The CDC has come out with several guidelines in advance of the holiday season. The agency's top advice is for Americans to get their vaccine shots prior to travel and gatherings. The CDC has also stressed that people should still wear masks indoors, especially the unvaccinated. Hospitalizations have decreased over the last month. However some health experts warn that there could be a spike within the coming months.

FDA to meet next month on Merck's COVID treatment pill
The FDA will have its outside experts meet late next month to discuss the experimental antiviral pill designed to treat COVID from Merck. It's the first time the panel will meet on a treatment, rather than a vaccine, during this pandemic. The FDA says it believes a public discussion will help ensure a better understanding of the data. The Nov. 30 meeting means U.S. regulators almost certainly won't issue a decision on the drug until December.

CDC updates holiday guidance, urges vaccines and masking indoors
The CDC updated its holiday guidance on Friday, urging people to get vaccinated and to wear masks indoors when out in public. "We fully expect that families and friends will gather for the holidays this year and we have updated our guidance on how to best to stay safe over the holidays. The best way to minimize COVID risk and ensure that people can safely gather is to get vaccinated or get the booster if you're eligible," the CDC said in a statement.

FDA panel endorses booster shot for J&J COVID-19 vaccine
A panel of U.S. health advisers has endorsed booster doses of Johnson & Johnson's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration panel said Friday that the booster should be offered at least two months after immunization but didn't suggest a firm time. The FDA isn't bound by the vote but its ultimate decision could help expand the nation's booster campaign. Booster doses of Pfizer's vaccine began last month for people at high risk of COVID-19, and the FDA advisory panel has recommended the same approach for Moderna.

Walgreens mistakenly injects 2 kids with the COVID vaccine instead of flu shot, parents allege
Joshua and Alexandra Price say they and their two children were mistakenly given the COVID-19 vaccine instead of a flu shot a week ago at their local pharmacy -- and they are now dealing with some adverse symptoms. The Prices took their 4- and 5-year-olds to the Walgreens in Evansville, Indiana, on October 4 for their yearly shots, CNN reported. About 90 minutes later the pharmacist called saying they had made a mistake. The entire family had been injected with adult doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"When they called us and told us that they had made a mistake and had given us the wrong shot, I was just in shock," Alexandra Price said. "All I could say to them was, 'What does this mean for my kids?'"

White House says fully vaccinated foreign visitors can start entering US on Nov. 8
Foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to travel to the United States starting on Nov. 8, the White House said Friday.

"The US' new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States will begin on Nov. 8," said Kevin Munoz, White House assistant press secretary, on Twitter. "This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel. This policy is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent."

Nets' Kryie Irving doing 'what's best for me' with COVID vaccine refusal
Kyrie Irving said Wednesday he didn't want to lose salary or a chance to compete for a championship with the Brooklyn Nets, but was doing "what's best for me" by refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The Nets decided Tuesday that Irving wouldn't be with the team because he isn't eligible to play in home games, where a New York mandate requires professional athletes on one of the city's teams to be vaccinated to practice or play in public venues. Speaking on Instagram Live, Irving said he loved basketball and wasn't going to retire.
"I am doing what's best for me. I know the consequences here and if it means that I'm judged and demonized for that, that's just what it is," Irving said. "That's the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate."

Oregon temporarily drops college degree requirement for substitute teachers amid shortage
Hoping to help curb what officials are calling an "extraordinary shortage" of substitute teachers across the state, the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission announced a new rule temporarily dropping the bachelor's degree requirement to become licensed in some cases. The temporary rule, which is set to expire March 31, allows substitute teacher applicants without a bachelor's degree to be sponsored by a school district, which would also provide them with enhanced support and administrative supervision, according to a joint statement from Dr. Anthony Rosilez, the commission's executive director, and Erika Bare, the commission chair. The license would only allow individuals to work for the district that sponsored them and would only be valid for the remainder of the school year, or six months, whichever is later.

Experts explain why lawsuits against COVID-19 vaccine mandates fail
From teachers to airlines workers, some employees who have faced termination for not complying with their company's COVID-19 vaccine mandates have gone to court to fight the decisions. Some of the plaintiffs, such as New York City Department of Education employees, a handful of Los Angeles county public employees and United Airlines workers, have argued that the mandates should be removed, questioning the rules' constitutionality and some contending their religious rights weren't observed. So far, these arguments have not swayed judges who have almost all ruled in favor of the employer, or not issued long injunctions while they hear the case. And legal experts tell ABC News they don't expect different outcomes in courtrooms anytime soon.

What to know about religious exemptions for COVID shots as vaccine mandates roll out
With COVID-19 vaccine mandates proliferating across the country in the public and private sectors as well as some school districts, the pushback from those unwilling or hesitant to get their shots is heating up. The vaccination effort has raised new questions about exemptions because mandates for adults are generally rare outside of settings like healthcare facilities and the military, and the inoculations are relatively new.

While there is no overall data yet on exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines, a number of companies and state governments have seen interest in religious exemptions -- a protection stemming from the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This leaves employers in the difficult and legally precarious position of determining whether the requests are valid. As such, some states have tried to do away with non-medical exemptions overall for their employees.

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